Hosiery 101


By now, you’ve probably already come to the conclusion that I’m a big fan of hosiery. I love wearing black stockings, whether they’re sheer or opaque, and I find, despite the common thought that hosiery is for old-fashioned women, it is a great addition to the everyday wardrobe as it offers not only appropriate leg coverage but also the appearance of sexy, flawless legs. In addition, it’s so versatile and suitable for any occasion at any time. Granted, there’s the argument that stockings run easily and therefore are a waste of money, but so many brands now use reinforced nylon to prevent snags and runs from happening so quickly and easily. Of course, that’s not to say that such snags will never happen; as with all delicate clothing, you still must be careful!

I’ve actually had some people come to me for hosiery advice, so I thought it would be helpful to post an article about it and answer some of the more frequently asked questions, seeing as I’ve been wearing stockings for a good while now and know many of the secrets to picking, wearing, and maintaining hosiery. Hopefully, my tips will come useful the next time you’re debating about including these versatile legwear into your outfits!

I have yet to find a single thing wrong with wearing opaque stockings. I’ve read some posts online where the writers bash on opaque tights, claiming it looks childish, but in all honesty, I think it’s one of the best accessories a girl can have. They’re thick, which make them perfect for chilly weather, especially if you still want to wear short skirts in those lower winter temperatures, and because of the thickness, the fabric doesn’t snag so easily. I’ve had opaque stockings survive an entire year without ripping. Of course, the lifespan of a pair of tights doesn’t depend solely on the thickness of the material and how careful you take care of them; the brand must also be factored in.  I’ve experimented with multiple brands, and I’ve become such a veteran that I now try to stick only to particular brands when it comes to stockings. I do still want to experiment with different labels, but for now, my picks below will serve as a good starting point.

My picks:
  • Hanes Silk Reflections Opaque Control Top: These are definitely my go-to opaque tights. Soft, comfortable, and snug (saggy stockings are so unattractive!), they are easily matched with mini skirts – either bodycon or skater – as seen in the examples above, and they’re also perfect with little black shorts, as seen in this post. When I said earlier that I’ve had opaque tights last a year without ripping, I was referring to these!
  • Hanes Silk Reflections Blackout Super Opaque Tights: These are just like the Opaque Control Top above and still offer great comfort and support, but they’re a little thicker and even darker. Perfect for cold weather days and nights!
  • DKNY High-Waist Control Top Tights: If you’re thinking about wearing a bodycon dress to go with your stockings, and you want that amazing, smooth waistline, don’t bother with bulky shapewear! These tights are high-waisted (they cover your ribcage) and will help cinch in the waist and smooth out any lumps (muffin tops, love handles, the works). I’m not saying you’ll have the waistline of someone like Victoria’s Secret supermodel Candice Swanepoel after putting these on, but your tummy area will definitely appear firmer and smoother. And fret not – even with the high waist, it’s still extremely comfortable. 

Look 1Look 2Look 3

Where do I even begin to talk about sheer stockings? Perhaps it’s a good idea to define denierfirst, since it’ll help you in choosing the perfect sheer hosiery, since most brands specify the denier of a particular pair of stockings on the packaging. Denier technically measures the weight and thickness of the yarn from which the hosiery is woven, but all you really need to keep in mind is this: typically, the lower the denier number is, the more sheer the hosiery is, and the higher the denier number is, the more opaque the hosiery is. However, note that a lot of brands nowadays make sheer hosiery at a higher denier to offer greater strength (meaning it will lower the chances of snags!). It’s always helpful to see if there are samples that are available off to the side if you’re browsing for hosiery in stores.
Sheer tights are unbelievably sexy and provide just enough color to make your legs look absolutely flawless. They work beautifully with pumps yet are also brilliant with ankle boots. But with sheer stockings, the risk of snags run great since the material is so thin. Because of this, I have previously fallen victim to the mindset that buying cheaper sheer tights is the answer (I’ve bought both Hanes and HUE sheer ones for as low as $5 each before from Target and Bloomingdales, respectively), but that’s not always the case – my HUE ones started snagging as I was putting them on despite careful maneuverings, and the Hanes pair had such an uneven tone and came as such bad quality that it looked like the nylon was dipped in black chalk! As a result, I have decided that spending just a little extra for high-quality sheer stockings is best. Regardless, I still try to be very careful when putting on sheer hosiery, and I like to have a pair of cotton gloves (affordably available at your local drugstore) handy to avoid any accidental fingernail snagging on the nylon.
My picks:
  • Calvin Klein Matte Sheer Control Top: Great color, perfect fit, long life-line. What’s not to love about this? It’s so sheer and light that I can even tolerate squeezing myself into them on a warmer day, and that’s saying something because I hate wearing constricted clothing when the temperature rises (consider me a heat-phobic). For a slightly lighter hue, try this.
  • Donna Karan Signature Collection Sheer Satin Control Top: This is by far my absolute favorite when it comes to sheer stockings, even though they’re a little more on the darker side. I love them not only because they’re extremely sturdy and comfortable, but also because they’re super soft to the touch, thanks to the satin material.
As you can tell from my picks, I love control-top hosiery. Whether you have extra flab or not, control-top stockings become your best friend when it comes to body-conscious outfits. It might take some getting-used-to for certain people, but once you’re accustomed to wearing them, the tight fit won’t even cross your mind again.
So now, another question I often get is: what’s the best way to wash hosiery? I highly discourage you to just toss your stockings into the washing machine, since all that spinning and wringing can weaken the nylon and cause the tights to become more vulnerable to runs. But then again, hand-washing can be a time-consuming pain too. Who has all that time? Instead, I like to place the hosiery in mesh wash bags (I got all of mine from Taiwan, but they’re similar to this), toss them into the washing machine with the rest of my clothes (I use normal cycle), and then lay them out flat to dry. This method hasn’t failed me…yet!

So in closing…

I’ll be honest here and declare that I am not a fan of colored (nude color is acceptable) or patterned stockings (I’ll wear fishnets for costumed parties), and I most likely never will be. Something about colored hosiery just seems clownish for me. I also do not like pairing hosiery with flats. But just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a try… I’m all for experimenting, and that’s the fun aspect of fashion – you get to play with different textures and patterns and see what works for you.
And so that’s it! Somewhere along the way, the definition of stockings sadly got misconstrued. They’re not just for old-fashioned women or sexually-charged individuals (seriously, if you search “stockings” on Tumblr, you get a lot of porno-esque images in return) anymore. Hosiery can actually a terrific accessory to your everyday wardrobe, if you give it a chance to prove its usefulness and style! Perhaps one day, I’ll also do an article on nude hosiery in defense of all the hate it’s been receiving, but for now, this is my Hosiery 101 on black stockings! Goodbye pale, pasty, untoned legs. Hello flawless skin!

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